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Keeping Tabs on the Bush Adminstration

By the Numbers

Percent increase in atmospheric CO2 over the past century: 30

Number of states suing the EPA for failing to regulate greenhouse gases: 7 (full story)



Estimated savings, under the current tax code, for purchase of a fuel-efficient hybrid vehicle: $3,729

Estimated savings, under a new administrative proposal, for small-business purchase of a Hummer H1: $33,634 (full story)



Percent decline in total amount paid in criminal penalties for environmental crimes since Bush took office: 34

Percent decline in civil penalties paid: 50 (full story)



Percent of logging projects completed last year in Bitterroot National Forest: 70

Percent of watershed-restoration and road-removal projects completed: 3 (full story)



Number of years since the pesticide methyl bromide was recognized as an ozone-depleting substance: 11

Number of exemptions the Bush administration is seeking this year from the international ban on methyl bromide: 54 (full story)


Resources:

The Bush Record -- The scientists, lawyers, and policy experts at the Natural Resources Defense Council have been tracking the Bush administration's environmental dealings since day one. Visit their Web site to find out what W's up to this week.

 


Percent increase in atmospheric CO2 over the past century: 30

Number of states suing the EPA for failing to regulate greenhouse gases: 7

In February, the attorneys general of New York, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Washington announced that they would file a lawsuit against the EPA for failing to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants. These facilities are responsible for 40 percent of all CO2 pollution in the United States. (The Sierra Club and Our Children's Earth filed a similar suit that also seeks stricter regulation of emissions from industrial boilers and gas turbines.)

Although carbon dioxide is widely recognized as a greenhouse gas, and is listed as a pollutant under the Clean Air Act, there is no federally mandated air-quality standard for its release. Seeking to change that, Connecticut, Maine, and Massachusetts are filing an additional suit that would require the EPA to establish a national air-quality standard for CO2, such as those it has in place for particulates and lead. (back to top)


Sierra Club factsheet on coal power

New York State attorney general's press release


Estimated savings, under the current tax code, for purchase of a fuel-efficient hybrid vehicle: $3,729

Estimated savings, under a new administrative proposal, for small-business purchase of a Hummer H1: $33,634

As if polluting SUVs weren't already popular enough, a proposal in President Bush's new economic plan would substantially increase a tax loophole that effectively subsidizes their purchase. Bush wants to triple the capital-equipment deduction -- from $25,000 to $75,000 -- for small-business buyers of sport-utility vehicles and large pickups that weigh over 6,000 pounds when fully loaded, a low-mileage category that includes, among others, the Hummer, Ford Expedition, and Toyota Land Cruiser. Combined with other incentives, buyers of the most expensive SUVs -- such as the Hummer H1 or others in the $100,000 range -- could claim a deduction of up to $87,135 in the year of purchase, resulting in a tax reduction of over $33,000 for those in the highest tax bracket. Drivers who would rather purchase a fuel-efficient hybrid vehicle reap just a tenth of the financial benefit gained by their gas-guzzling counterparts. (back to top)


"Bush Plan Would Boost Big SUVs," San Francisco Chronicle, January 21, 2003


Percent decline in total amount paid in criminal penalties for environmental crimes since Bush took office: 34

Percent decline in civil penalties paid: 50

According to EPA data released in January by Representative John Dingell (D-Mich.), overall civil penalties for breaking environmental laws have dropped by almost half, to $55 million, since President Bush took office in 2001. Criminal penalties dropped by more than a third, to $62 million, during the same period. The EPA's enforcement staff has been reduced by 7 percent and the number of inspections has dropped. (back to top)


Letter from Representative Dingell to EPA Administrator Whitman


Percent of logging projects completed last year in Bitterroot National Forest: 70

Percent of watershed-restoration and road-removal projects completed: 3

Plenty of trees perished in Montana's Bitterroot National Forest during the summer 2000 fire season. But not enough for the Bush administration. Undersecretary of Agriculture Mark Rey -- a former timber-industry lobbyist -- authored a "recovery plan" for the area that called for the elimination of public appeals of timber sales deemed necessary to reduce fire risk. The Sierra Club and other environmental groups immediately sued the Forest Service, and won a settlement in February 2002, in which the agency agreed to limit logging to 14,700 acres of burned land (a reduction of about 30,000 acres), and move ahead with restoration, reforestation, and watershed- and fisheries-improvement projects. But one year later, a scant 3 percent of the watershed-restoration and road-removal work has been done, and only 12 percent of reforestation. The agency did, however, find time to complete 70 percent of its logging projects. (back to top)


"Bum Deal on the Bitterroot," Sierra Club Currents, February 12, 2003


Number of years since the pesticide methyl bromide was recognized as an ozone-depleting substance: 11

Number of exemptions the Bush administration is seeking this year from the international ban on methyl bromide: 54

Lethal to weeds, insects, and other pests, methyl bromide is equally effective at breaking down the earth's protective ozone layer. After this dangerous side effect was discovered, in 1992 nations added the pesticide to the Montreal Protocol, an international treaty on the production and trade of ozone-depleting substances. The protocol calls for methyl bromide to be phased out in industrialized countries by 2005, but allows for "critical-use exemptions" when no other effective substitute exists. Exemptions have been granted for other ozone-depleting substances that power asthma inhalers and clean the O-rings that seal the space shuttle's booster rockets. This year, the Bush White House applied for 54 industry-requested exemptions for more frivolous uses, from growing tobacco to keeping golf greens perfectly manicured. (back to top)


U.S. EPA: The Phaseout of Methyl Bromide

Pesticide Action Network North America: Methyl bromide resources

Sierra: "Food for Thought: Poisonberries"